You want to be successful, right? Sure, your vision of success might look different to next person, but you have a dream, a goal, a place you’d like to get to in your life.
But success doesn’t come easy – at least that’s what we’re told. In order to succeed, you first have to do certain things, follow a particular path, and become a new person.
What if that is a lie? What if success isn’t about doing things or gaining things, but more about surrendering things that already exist in your life? What if success comes not from adding to your life, but from subtracting from it?
It’s counterintuitive, isn’t it? How can you succeed by simply relinquishing your grip on elements of the life you already have? As we’ll discuss in this article, when you surrender something and let it go, it actually creates the space for something new. It creates a vacuum into which success is sucked.
Are you ready to surrender your way to success? Let’s begin…
1. Surrender Your Expectations
One of the biggest roadblocks to your success is the very vision you have in your head of what it should look like. Your expectations of life make it difficult for you to spot opportunities that might pass right in front of your eyes. If such an opening doesn’t quite fit with your rigid plan, it is lost. This inflexibility is something we’ll come back to again later on.
Instead, when you give up a fixed belief of what success is and how you will achieve it, you become aware of the potential for different paths. This doesn’t mean you have to keep switching from one thing to another – in fact, that’s probably not a good idea – but it does mean recognizing when an alternative (and genuinely promising) route to success presents itself.
2. Surrender Your Limiting Beliefs
Success is, to a large extent, born in the mind. Yes, hard work and effort are required, but the source of this and other ingredients of success start up there in the space between your ears. Success is also limited in exactly the same way; if you don’t believe in your own ability to succeed, the odds of you doing so will worsen significantly.
The moment you let go of these limiting beliefs is the moment you open up to the very real possibility of your success. Freeing yourself from the shackles of a self-imposed mental line, beyond which you cannot go, is key to reaching the kind of heights you dream of.
3. Surrender The 80%
You’ve probably heard of the Pareto Principle or, to give it its more common name, the 80/20 rule. It’s also known as ‘the law of the vital few’ and this pinpoints another important element of your future success.
In Point #1, we talked about not switching from one thing to another all of the time; of not giving up on one approach just because something else has caught your eye (unless, of course, you take a reasoned judgment on it). The same goes for your daily schedule – you are better off focusing your time and effort on the ‘vital few’ rather than trying to fit everything in. The 80/20 rule suggests that you should spend your time on the 20% of things that will bring you 80% of the potential results.
If you have time for other things once the 20% is taken care of, then by all means get stuck in, but make sure you’ve done all the important tasks first.
4. Surrender Your Excuses
A trap that many people fall into on their journeys through life is that of making excuses for why they didn’t do something or why they did and it didn’t turn out like they had hoped.
Excuses are get-out clauses for trying. They are worthless verbal junk; wasted words that have very little meaning. If you truly want to do something, you will do it. If you don’t, you won’t. An excuse is a way of pretending you wanted to do something, but were prevented from doing so by events outside of your control.
Yes, some excuses are valid, like you tried to make it to evening classes to learn a new skill, but you suffered a bout of serious ill-health. That’s acceptable – you’ve prioritized an essential task (self-care) over an optional one. What’s less tolerable is when you say you want to take the classes, but you don’t like the idea of a 30 minute bus journey there and back. You should just admit that you don’t really care that much about taking the classes; you just want people to think you do.
5. Surrender Your Short-termism
We’re all guilty of giving in to temptation every now and again; that’s no bad thing at all. What will dent your prospects of succeeding is a short-term way of thinking that prioritizes your present enjoyment over your future potential.
If you can give up the need for instant gratification and learn to delay it when the benefits of doing so are clear, you will put yourself in prime position to reap the rewards. Whether this comes in the form of saving money, avoiding unhealthy habits, or taking more qualifications over the lure of a paid job, a long-term view will give you the greatest chance of achieving your dreams.
6. Surrender Your Inflexibility
Earlier on we talked about how having fixed expectations can get in the way of success. Inflexibility isn’t confined to expectations, however, and can trip you up in many other areas of your life.
Perhaps what you picture as success requires you to move to a different city or country. Maybe you have to learn a new skill, develop relationships with particular people, acquire new knowledge. Whatever it may take, you have to remain flexible to the challenges you will face. Don’t try and fit a square peg in a round hole – be willing to adapt your shape to fit the requirements of each opportunity.
7. Surrender Your Need To Please Others
As we alluded to at the very beginning of this article, the idea of success differs from person to person; it is not a fixed thing that society agrees upon. Your unique view of what success means to you is the precise reason why you need to give up your desire to make others happy.
If you put too much emphasis on pleasing others, you will inevitably face an internal conflict between what’s best for you and what’s best for them. Remember, being liked by lots of people isn’t always the best way to turn your dreams into a reality.
Sometimes you have to be a little selfish. Sometimes you have to put your needs first. This is not a bad thing; it is common sense. Of course, being generous and kind are noble qualities that you shouldn’t abandon entirely, but choose your moments and never forget that how you treat yourself matters, too.
8. Surrender Your Fear Of Failure
Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success. Understand and accept this truth and you can overcome your fear of failing. If you never fail, it means you never try. And if you never try, you will never succeed.
Your fear of failure has many roots, one of which is the desire to please others mentioned above. We imagine that failing at something will let other people down, that they will somehow like us less if we aren’t perfect beings. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. People love a trier; a person who is willing to put their neck on the line in order to chase their dreams.
Remember this and you can fight back against the ego; the part of you that can’t bear the prospect of public humiliation, and the part of you that acts as a brake to hold you back from trying anything in the first place.
9. Surrender Your Perfectionism
We’ve just talked about the illusion of perfect beings and this goes one step further in your quest to succeed. On the one hand, the desire to improve upon yourself and hone your talents is one that we should act upon. On the other, a need to be perfect in every area of your life is one that is more likely to hold you back.
It boils down to what is important and what is not; where aiming for perfection is a help, and where it is a hindrance. If you want to be a world-class ballerina, then practicing every step and hold is worth the effort. But seeking to have an immaculately kept home, perfectly worded emails, and a flawless grasp of every subject matter known to man is a waste of your mental and physical resources. Sometimes, just good enough is all we can hope for.
10. Surrender Your Self-doubt
Something that ties in very closely with the limiting beliefs we talked about earlier is the self-doubt that many of us carry around inside our heads. Not only does this doubt form the basis of those mental limits, it prevents us from acting on our intuition, our drive, and our desire.
Self-doubt is a ball and chain around our ankle, stopping us from moving forward at any great speed. Remove this from the equation and suddenly you will find a momentum that propels you towards greater things than you have ever thought possible.
‘I want it all, and I want it now!’ is a lyric from one of Queen’s greatest hits, but in reality it is rare for anyone to experience overnight success. Most of us have to put in the hours to create the success for ourselves, and this can be difficult if you are impatient by nature.
Waiting for that moment when you can consider yourself a success is like being a kid sitting in the backseat of a car yelling ‘are we there yet?’ over and over. Instead, try to see your success not as an end point, but as a journey to be enjoyed. If it helps, set lots of smaller goals to act as waypoints so that you have something to celebrate on a more regular basis. Just, please, be patient and remember that good things come to those who wait, and who work hard for it.
12. Surrender Your Control
The earth keeps spinning and the world keeps running without any input from you – remember that. It’s important to acknowledge the very real truth that not everything is within your control and nor should you try to make it so.
Control is very often an illusion that we are happy to go along with because it comforts us and reduces our anxiety. The reality is that things happen around us and to us that we have no direct influence over. Now to a certain degree, your success will be within your control, but much of it comes down to how you react to the situations around you – control, yes, but of your response first and foremost. Recall the flexibility we spoke of earlier on, and how it pays to adjust your course depending on which direction the wind around you is blowing.
If you’re in business, surrendering your control also means being able to delegate tasks to other people and trusting them to carry things out to a standard you are happy with. This allows you to dedicate your time to more strategic thinking.
13. Surrender Your Workaholic Habits
There is no success in working your fingers to the bone 24/7. After all, success is as much about being able to enjoy the fruits of your labor as it is about the particular achievements.
So, while hard work will be required, don’t kid yourself into believing that longer hours means faster success. The key is to make sure that when you are working, you are being as productive as possible (remember to surrender the 80% we talked about earlier). There is a huge difference between being busy and being productive and you should not confuse one with the other.
Learn to fully enjoy your downtime by unplugging from whatever ‘work’ means in your definition of success. Your unconscious mind will always be working, so you can relax your conscious mind and experience the moments in life that can only be found in family, friends, nature, and recreation. Often these breaks from thought are just what you need to revitalize you and allow you to push hard when it’s time for work again.
14. Surrender Your Fear Of The Unknown
One almost universal requirement of success is the willingness to dive into an unknown future and embrace it. The alternative is to keep to your comfort zone and never grow beyond it. Yes, it is scary to venture where you haven’t ventured before, but it is also exciting and eye-opening. Simply by stepping beyond your usual bubble, you will encounter things that will test you and reward you in equal measure. These might be people, places, cultures, or any type of experience you’re not familiar with.
Fear is natural and fear is good; it keeps you on your toes and prepares you for the unexpected. Growth towards success will invariably lead you down new and novel paths, so accept your fear, but do not let it stop you from taking a leap into the unknown.
15. Surrender Tomorrow
When we put off till tomorrow what we can do today, we refuse to acknowledge the opportunity that today brings. Strictly speaking, tomorrow is an imaginary time because it can only be experienced in your mind; as soon as tomorrow comes, it is no longer tomorrow at all.
To this end, you ought to look at what you can do today that might contribute to your future success. This means no procrastination, no laziness, no distractions. We talked above about the importance of being productive with your time when you’re working towards your goals, and not allowing tasks to fall into perpetuity; this is why you should abandon your ideas of a tomorrow that will never come. Do it now.
16. Surrender Your Complacency
At some point on your journey to success, you might look back on what you’ve achieved so far and be pretty smug about it. Perhaps you’ve had some wins that felt pretty good and you’re doing well for yourself personally and financially. At this point in time, there is a major risk to your continued success from a complacent attitude.
Yes, you might have reached some level of success sooner than expected, but there are no guarantees that it will stay this way. The world is ever-changing and standards always rise, so whatever you have achieved thus far, you have to keep pushing the envelope in terms of your capacity for improvement. If you do not, you may find your success wanes along with your enjoyment of it. You can’t forever dine out on a success without keeping that success going.
17. Surrender Small Talk And Gossip
Your time is precious – we’ve already established that – so how you choose to spend it matters greatly. One thing you’ll rarely see successful people do is engage in small talk or gossip. It’s an activity with no added value in terms of your life and your path to success.
Yet, as a society, we seem to be on a trajectory towards ever more bland courtesies and inane chat. You ought to cut this from your life starting now, before it drains you of time, energy, and mental stimulation. Talk about bigger things, deeper questions, more meaningful and relationship-strengthening topics…anything except slanderous gossip and senseless chit chat.
18. Surrender Your ‘Occasional’ Friends
We all have some: friends who we rarely see through choice, but who we try to maintain a relationship with nonetheless. They are ‘occasional’ friends who we no longer have any strong ties to (if we ever did have) and whose friendships we would not miss too much if they were to fade away.
These are one of the types of friends you should consider cutting out of your life – even on social media if you couldn’t care less about what they are getting up to. The energy you expend in trying to prolong the friendship is energy that could be better spent on other things; things that might actually propel you towards the success you’ve dreamed of. There’s nothing wrong with this type of personal housekeeping and you shouldn’t feel bad about it.
19. Surrender Toxic Behaviors And People
There are many types of toxic behavior and they all prevent your success in one way or another. Whether these behaviors are within you or in other people, you need to try and expel them from your life once and for all. This will require a willingness to identify them and either cut ties with that person or work on ridding yourself of them, depending on the source.
Such behaviors are called toxic for good reason; they destroy the positive and spread the negative. They will hinder your progress towards success and even prevent you from reaching it.
20. Surrender Your Grudges
We’ve already discussed many things that can zap you of your mental and physical life force, and here is a final one to give up if you want to taste success in your life. Holding a grudge against someone is rarely an effective means of dealing with your feelings of anger and hurt towards them. If you expend any time at all thinking about them or attempting to enact your revenge, it is time wasted.
Instead, just forgive yourself for feeling the hurt. Know that it was a natural reaction, but that now you want to move on with your life. Cuts the imaginary strings that link you to these painful feelings and either cut the person who caused them out of your life, or forgive them and turn a new page in your relationship (depending on how much you value this relationship).
Success is a process – one that can be sped up or slowed down depending on your thoughts and actions. All of the things discussed above are like weights that hamper your progress, so the more of them you can surrender, the sooner you’ll reach a point where success turns from a dream into a reality.